GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology senior Ryann-Rebecca Montgomery continued her run at the school record book with her third-place finish at the NCAA Division III Great Lakes Cross Country Regional, making her the second women in program history to qualify for the national meet.
With her time of 21 minutes, 44 seconds on the course at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., Montgomery (Lafayette, La./Episcopal School of Acadiana) broke her previous 6-kilometer school record by 16 seconds and became the first female runner to qualify for NCAA Division III Cross Country National Championships – held Nov. 23 at Hanover College – since Engineers runner Rachel Krasich did in 2007.
The senior ran with the lead pack for the first two miles before it split, and with about 1,000 meters to go, Montgomery held steady in fifth place.
"She was hurting really bad," Rose-Hulman cross-country coach Geoff Wayton said of Montgomery at that point. "She's about the toughest kid I have ever coached, and she just ran really tough over that last 1,000 meters and came alive on the home stretch."
With 800 meters to go, Montgomery gained momentum and passed three runners in the final 200 to take third place, finishing just 17 seconds behind overall winner Cassandra Vince of Calvin College, who won with a time of 21:27, and just three seconds behind runner-up Emma Lehman (21:41) of Oberlin College.
The third-place finish at regionals was also the best placing in school history.
Montgomery has steadily improved her times all season, as she set her previous school record at the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships, when she won just the second conference championship program history.
"Ryann-Rebecca was just incredible," Wayton added. "To be third at that meet is just incredible -- there are no words to describe what she did."
In order to qualify, a runner had to finish as one of the top seven individuals not racing for a qualifying team. Montgomery was the first individual finisher.
Junior Anna Taylor (Owensboro, Ky./Apollo) was the lone other Rose-Hulman female runner to participate in Saturday’s race, finishing 116th overall with a time of 25:36.
The 2013 NCAA Division III Cross Country National Championships is set to begin at 11 a.m. on Nov. 23 at Hanover College.
Montgomery set an 83-second personal-best on the course back on Oct. 5 at the Pre-National meet held on the same course with a time of 23:27, to place 24th overall in the 228-runner field.